Asia Pacific Weekly Briefing – 22-27 June

Asia Pacific Weekly Briefing – 22-27 June

Weekly Briefing (June 22nd- 27th) Region: Asia Pacific
GEOPOLITICS

India and China try to amend their relationship after border clash
Following the incident in Galwan last week, military officials from both sides met on Monday in attempts to deescalate the hostility between the two. The reunion was in Moldo, a Chinese territory along the border. Sources say the meeting was tense due to India’s persistent plea to China to completely disengage in the border. Both India and China have released statements indicating that they wish to resolve matters peacefully and therefore have committed to continue engaging in diplomatic dialogue.

China urges Asia-Pacific countries to act together against US plans to deploy missiles in the region
The Chinese Ministry for National Defense released a statement in response to US’s conversation with Japan to propose the positioning of intermediate-range missiles in their territory. The spokesperson called upon the nations in the region to act together in order to ensure peace. The statement also encouraged them not to “fall victim to Washington’s geopolitical ploys.” China continued to say that they would take measures if needed as they intent to impede this initiative if it further advances. This contributes to the ongoing rise of tension between both superpowers, as they have been continuously clashing throughout the previous weeks.

India admits to sending troops to border in response to China not following the agreement.
The Indian Foreign Ministry publicly admitted in a briefing that they had sent reinforcements to the disputed area with China as a response to the Chinese increasing their troops. The spokesperson reiterated India’s intention of maintaining peace in the region and hoped to resume diplomatic dialogue if the other party were to agree to follow the norms that had been established previously. The blame of the Galwan incident continues to be past back and forth as the both Foreign ministries have firmly stated that their nation was not responsible for initiating the conflict. This announcement came the same day as the releasing of images from tech-company Maxar that demonstrated an increase in military presence from both sides when compared to photos of last month.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The US and Russia discuss the future of their nuclear agreement
In a meeting held in Vienna on Monday, the Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, Marshall S. Billingslea discussed nuclear matters as their current treaty is set to expire in the beginning of 2021. Both nations have previoulsy voiced their stance in regards to the regulation of nuclear power. The US has expressed desires to commence testing while Russia has made it clear that they support the current international norms and regulations that impede the usage of such force. Despite the differences, Bilingslea announced on Twitter that the meeting was “very positive”.

North Korea reveals plans to dump Anti-Seoul propaganda on its neighboring country
The North Korean national new agency, KCNA, reported North Korean’s leader Kim Jong-un’s plan to distribute anti-government leaflets in South Korea. The article stated that the nation was assembling 3000 balloons that would carry these leaflets, along with cigarette butts and trash, across the border. This was reported days after Kim Jong-un announced the cutting of ties between North and South Korea. The tension has been escalating prior to the measure due to the sending of hateful propaganda from South Korean groups hateful to the north.

India calls for a 50% reduction of staff in Pakistan embassy
In response to prior instances of violent, the Indian Foreign Ministry released a statement demanding the reduction of personnel in the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi. The document explained that this decision taken was due to accusations of espionage and illegal activities. Two weeks before the announcement two members of Pakistan’s embassy had been caught already. India stated they would do the same in with their representatives in Islamabad as they have also experienced episodes of violence in the capital of Pakistan.

Pakistan responds to statement released by India and accuses them of issuing statements to divert attention away from their other conflicts.
Shah Mahmood Quershi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, claimed India was trying to create a conflict with Pakistan in attempts to divert attention away from their mismanagement of the border dispute with China. Quershi stated that Islamabad would respond with force if the situations escalated. This came one day after India demanded the reduction of personnel in the Pakistani embassy in New Dehli.

North Korea cancels their plans against Seoul
Only one day after the announcement of the plans to send antipropaganda to Seoul, North Korea suspends all military action against South Korea. This was the first step Kim Jong-un took to deescalate the tension between the two nations that had been rising exponentially for the past few days. Along with this measure, the KCNA eliminated several articles that targeted South Korea. In addition, the military that was stationed at the border removed speakers that were meant to blast hateful messages into the territory of the south. No explication was given as to why these actions were taken so suddenly. South Korea has responded with confusion by questioning North Korea’s intentions. No further comment has been made up to the moment.

UN continues to pressure China against pursing National security law
UN experts united in a conjoint statement in attempts to convince China to reconsider the passing of the national security law. This was yet another institution that spoke out in regards to China breaching the Sino-British Joint Declaration and urged the eastern superpower to follow the rules and norms of the international community. The document did not suggest any potential repercussions or sanctions for China but instead proposed the organization of a meeting between all stakeholders. The message concluded by calling upon all nations to act together.

June 26- US imposes sanctions on China over their actions on Hong Kong
Following the statement issued by UN experts, the US secretary of state, Michael Pompeo, announced that the US would be imposing a new visa restriction on “on current and former CCP officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy” and their family members. This action piles on top of other initiatives launched by several nations of the world in attempts to pressure China in to retracting the National Security law.

Japan suspects Kim Jong-Un’s suspicious actions are attributed to his health
In a briefing at the Japanese Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo, the defence minister, Taro Kono stated his beliefs in regards to the health of the North Korean leader. The minister suggested the recent deterioration of the North Korean economy as well as lack of productivity could be linked to his potential poor health. He denied to further comment on the matter but reiterated that that Japan has “some suspicion about his health”.

Former Military members suggest a possible escalation in the disputed region with India
Several former military commanders are publishing articles to pressure the Chinese government to increase their military presence in the region of conflict. According to their predictions the conflict is expected to rise. Not everyone agrees that a war will break out but there is a unanimous consensus in regards to increasing the preparation for troops in case of one. These articles came days after both Foreign Ministries released official statements indicating that they are actively finding a peaceful resolution.

NEXT WEEK AGENDA (June 29th- July 4th)

Tuesday, June 30
• National Security Law: after a three-day deliberation on the national security law, China expects to pass the legislation on Tuesday.
Wednesday, July 1
• Russian Constitutional Referendum: could potentially define if Putin will continue to hold power until 2036
• 1st- Hong Kong SAR establishment day

Sophie Velloso

Sophie Velloso is studying International Relations at Richmond the American International University in London. She is focusing her studies in the areas of transnational public affairs. She has an interest in geopolitics, international security, and sustainable development.
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